The night before we sat and waited for the nurse to check vitals. It was a stone gray day in January, with trace flurries. We turned all the unnecessary lights off and played Radiohead music in the light. Your father slept; your mother waited. We turned on CNN and watched the news on Heath Ledger. A finished life coming before a new one.

Catherin and I went to Denny’s in the early hours. We didn’t sleep. We bought your mom a rocket sippy cup for her ice chips. We went back to the house and promised to return at seven. We showered and tried to sleep. At 5am I walked the streets of suburban Portland alone while Catherin slept, breathing frost and ice and with each foggy exhale sent positive energy to you and your parents.

I wore roaming gnome pajamas to the hospital to make her laugh. She didn’t notice.

At the hospital I took a picture of the sunrise over the street. It was pink and gray, an austere sunrise giving off brittle warmth. We saw them briefly before your mom sent us to the waiting room where we drank flat Diet Sprite from the guest comfort station. Your grandmother came with your uncles; we waited in the hallway.

Time passed. Hours. We were loopy from the sodas and we listened to the moans, amplified by the oxygen mask. Nick and I stood by the door of the room and nurses scolded us. We worried. We heard nurses talking about dipping heart rates and c-sections. We worried more.

Then we heard it–a soft, small cry. I looked to Nick for confirmation and he gave a thumbs up. It changed the mood, it changed everything.

You changed everything.

Happy birthday, Owen. Auntie loves you.


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